The University of Cincinnati Black Faculty Association is an advocacy group that works diligently to support the scholarly, research and professional goals of black faculty throughout the different departments, colleges and sectors that make up the UC community.
By offering quick access to a variety of supportive committees, valuable resources, upcoming events, and news and announcements relevant to its members, the association dedicates itself to encouraging the continued success of UC’s black faculty as they go through their careers and increasing the presence of black faculty in senior leadership positions throughout the university.
In addition, the Black Faculty Association makes it a goal to highlight the achievements, breakthroughs and successes of its members, featuring them prominently to not only foster connectivity between professionals of different departments, but to help them serve as role models for students and set a firm foundation for their futures.
The Black Faculty Association is an advocacy group devoted to providing support and guidance to its members as they set out to achieve the highest level of scholarship and education at the University of Cincinnati.
Through the diverse research expertise of an award winning faculty, it aims to understand and remove institutional cultural barriers preventing black faculty from achieving their maximum potential as scholars, researchers and leaders.
The group works to increase the presence of black faculty in senior leadership, encouraging them to achieve the highest level of success in their disciplines as they navigate through the promotion and tenure process.
The Black Faculty Association holds a commitment to serving as a role model and support network for UC’s graduate and undergraduate student bodies, laying a firm foundation for them to one day join as young professionals.
The University of Cincinnati Black Faculty Association first came together in the fall of 2015 as a response to various events and concerns affecting the black UC community.
Beginning with an executive team comprised of faculty members James Mack, Littisha Bates, Karen Bankston, Charles Collins and Terry Kershaw, the organization engaged in dialogue with UC ‘s diverse faculty and became focused on removing the obstacles preventing them from meeting their full potential.
Through a series of surveys and focus groups, the organization identified several key areas to focus on in order to remove these obstacles, all outlined in a proposal to the upper administration entitled “A Sustainability Plan for the Recruitment and Retention of Black Faculty at the University of Cincinnati.”
In April of 2016, members of the executive team met with the Offices of the President and Provost in order to present the proposal, earning both their enthusiastic support and financial backing for the proposed activities.
Since its formation, members of the organization have had direct communication with upper administration and championed to address the concerns of black UC faculty. The Black Faculty Association and its partners are committed to resolving these issues through the pursuit of four key objectives:
- Objective 1: Increase the role of the Black Faculty Association in the research mission of the university
- Objective 2: Create a sense of support, inclusion and equity for faculty members
- Objective 3: Be a primary stakeholder in university decisions
- Objective 4: Increase and retain the members of the Black Faculty Association at the University of Cincinnati
Through the creation of the Morale Committee, Scholarship Committee and the Career Advancement Committee, the Black Faculty Association is primed to develop UC as a first choice destination for black faculty and their families.
In order to comprehend and overcome the hurdles facing black faculty at the University of Cincinnati, the Black Faculty Association has surveyed its members in order to develop an understanding of their greatest concerns regarding diversity and inclusivity in the UC community through the use of a single open-ended question:
“What are the most significant impediments to the advancement of your own research, scholarship and clinical progression?”
Members responded to the survey as follows:
- “The most significant impediment to the advancement of my own research and scholarship is all the other service responsibilities that I must perform for my department, college, university, state, government, community, professional societies, and anybody else in the world that happens to identify me. Because all these entities want to broaden participation and there aren’t enough people to go around, I am selected to be involved in all of them.”
- “Need more financial support. Some departments have very little to even send faculty to a single conference a year.”
- “No local research network, silos, decisions that do not favor people of color.”
- “Professionally, mentoring black students takes a lot more time and effort than UC (University of Cincinnati) perhaps realizes. The advice that we should put our heads down and work toward tenure is well-intentioned, but it misses the reality that these students have no other clearly viable option if we don't step up for them, and we can't ignore them; I was one of those students once, and I wouldn't be here if others didn't play the same role for me.”
In response to some of these immediate concerns, and with the support of its partners, the Black Faculty Association has developed a list of specific aims that it hopes to meet in order to overcome these obstacles.
Aim 1: Remove the roadblocks limiting the research productivity of black faculty at the University of Cincinnati.
Aim 2: Develop programs to diversify and increase the research networks of black faculty members.
Aim 3: Create an environment where UC is a first-choice destination for black faculty and their families.
The Black Faculty Association brought together focus groups to come to define what the success of the group meant to them. From these discussions the organization has developed a five-year plan comprised of the following goals and objectives that will set the pace to meet the group’s overall vision of a more diverse and inclusive community for UC faculty.
- Increase the role of the Black Faculty Association in the research mission of the university.
- Increase the national grant submissions of its members by 50 percent.
- Help 75 percent of its members to publish research and literature annually.
- Increase the internal grant submissions of its members by 50 percent.
- Increase representation of its members on internal research committees 25 percent by the year 2021.
- Create a sense of support and equity for faculty members.
- Increase knowledge of current campus resources available to faculty members.
- Identify resources to facilitate positive reappointment, promotion and tenure (RPT) decisions for UC faculty.
- Increase avenues for mentoring and networking among the members of the Black Faculty Association across the UC community and beyond.
- Incorporate the values of the Black Faculty Association into the fabric of the university
- Minimize aggression and violence directed towards minorities on campus.
- Provide faculty members with supportive mentoring networks.
- Be a primary stakeholder in university decisions.
- Ensure that 75 percent of all committees have underrepresented minority or advocate representation.
- Ensure that 20 percent of upper administration have underrepresented minority or advocate representation.
- Ensure that the percentage of department chairs is more reflective of the diverse faculty.
- Increase and retain members of the Black Faculty Association at the University of Cincinnati.
- Increase the membership of the Black Faculty Association by 10 percent by the year 2021.
- Validate the service of the members of the Black Faculty Association with respect to RPT and merit.